By Fred Wallace
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
The Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League confirmed last week that they will not stage a season in 2020.
The announcement wasn't a shocker, in fact, the mild surprise was that the provincial Junior B loop maintained a possibility of playing as long as they did.
Long before the Juniors confirmed their departure, Zone 8 Minor Lacrosse had cancelled their season, the annual Owen Sound Minor Tournament was scrapped, and the Ontario Senior Lacrosse League including the Bug Juice Senior NorthStars also stepped aside for the year.
Furthermore, the Canadian Lacrosse Association cancelled all of their 2020 National Championships, so even if there was a Junior B season, there would be no Canadian Championship to be staged at the end of the road.
In the official release, the Ontario Junior B League stated player safety was their primary concern and their primary issue for the eventual decision.
There were other factors connected to COVID-19 as well; the extended state-of-emergency in Ontario, the rapid passing of time on the calendar, lack of arena floor time for some teams,and a lack of funds to operate for other teams.
In Owen Sound, the Junior NorthStars were caught somewhere in the middle.
Their organizational structure was in place and there was every indication that the Owen Sound program would be competitive and functional as always.
But the suggestion also exists that the Junior NorthStars, who reside in a region where COVID-19 cases are comparatively low, were somewhat skiddish about leaving the region and entering other provincial jurisdictions where the pandemic is more prominent.
Roll all of those issues together, and you can see the giant obstacle that led to the cancellation of the Ontario Junior B Lacrosse season.
I'm Fred Wallace